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How to Develop Self Discipline

Updated on January 24, 2010

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, discipline means the following
Pronunciation: \ˈdi-sə-plən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin disciplina teaching, learning, from discipulus pupil
Date: 13th century
1: punishment
2 obsolete : instruction
3: a field of study
4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
5 a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior c: self-control
6: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

A Samurai practices sword fighting technique every day. A monk sits in meditation every day. A pious person prays every day. A world class athlete trains everyday for an event one year ahead. A scientist trains for years. Even Merryl Streep, world class actress still takes acting lessons according to what is written about her.

Jesus Christ prayed and fasted for forty days and even the Buddha sat in meditation after realizing enlightenment.

There is value in repetitive tasks. It quiets the mind of chatter. Being able to do something repetitively involves the discipline to do it day after day. It allows us to tame the body. Where there is resistance in the mind, there is resistance in the body. We can do it the other way around. Doing the task whether we like it or not builds new neural patterns in the brain. This is part of  Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Chogyam Trungpa once said in order to go to depths of meditation, one has to first be able to sit and relate to the boredom and the simplicity of meditation. Just follow your breath. When one is able to relate to the boredom of just sitting, doing nothing,  then all of the last four definitions of discipline are fulfilled.

The progression of the path to freedom goes : From discipline, knowledge, from knowledge, understanding, from understanding, awareness, from awareness, detachment, from detachment, freedom or put  another way: From discipline,knowledge, from knowledge,wisdom, from wisdom, discriminating awareness, from discriminating awareness, ruthless compassion from ruthless compassion,absolute freedom.

© 2009 by Melinda M. Sorensson


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    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Thank you, DynamicS.

      We all do need to be reminded. It is so easy to fall back into old patterns.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Melinda, I just found this post by you. It comes at a very opportune time for me, a time when I need to be mindful of self discipline. I like definition # 4 and need to harness it in my quest to self actualize. So thank you for the timely reminder.

      Have a blessed day.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Thank you Deborah :-)

      Shower of blessings to you.


    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Msorensson, Very good enjoyable, informative hub!

      Discipline is doing what you must do, even when you don't want to but committed to making every effort to do your best. Thank You for sharing, Blessings!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Thank you Madison22.

    • Madison22 profile image

      Madison 8 years ago from NYC

      I really enjoyed reading, very informative. Thanks!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      HI, Jean,

      Albert Einstein said that. When you exercise regularly what do you expect, assuming that you do not change anything else?

      That is what I mean by discipline, the willingness to do something without expecting anything.

      Expectation is necessary in the beginning. It is your impetus to continue do what is necessary whether you want to or not.

      You have to go beyond that expectation to have developed discipline.

      definition #4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

      I hope that answers your question. Thanks for dropping by.



    • profile image

      Jean chriss 8 years ago

      What about this,my professor in mathematics told me Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result so where does the above analogy of self displain lies a line

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Dear Judy,

      Thank you. That was a great insight.



    • Judy Cullins profile image

      Judy Cullins 8 years ago from La Mesa, CA

      Self discipline. Great hub. I can just add an insight I learned about it.

      Self-discipline is doing what doesn't hurt you. It's self love in a way. More power to self discipline I say.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      Terrific analogy. Thank you, Metaphysician

    • metaphysician profile image

      metaphysician 8 years ago

      I remember tony robbins spoke about stone grinder. A stone grinder will heat the stone again and again even it shows no sign of the stone will break. Hit it a hundreds time, thoudsand times and yet nothing happens. But what if on the 1002th time, the stone breaks. All the attempts before 1002th are the preparation for the stone to break and it takes dicipline to to that!


      Discipline->knowledge ->understanding->awareness->detachment->freedom

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      So true, thanks Alex. Wow, you were that good of a lecturer? Sadly, I can not claim to have been such, not in a class of 200 anyway [smiles]. I do well in small settings. Less than 30. So far the only person I have known to do this, continually fascinate large audiences, is Roald Hoffmann. And now you! Glad to meet you!


    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 8 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      When I played Aikido even the dan grades started their class with the same exercise they did the first time they stepped on to the mat. But the way they did it was obviously vastly different from the way the beginner did it

      At university a lecturer told me he had no problem with giving the same course year after year because the class was different and so it was new for him.

      You cannot step into the same river twice so repetition need not be boring